On 7 Dec 2010, Prof Hanko gave a talk on missions, the last talk of the “What the Bible Says” series. There were 3 themes in his talk relating to missions:
1) the Sovereignty of God;
2) the church’s responsibility;
3) the missionary’s responsibility.
First, Prof set the facts right on ‘church planting’, the original name of the talk. It is a modern term, not found anywhere in scripture and does not express the idea of missions. It emphasises what man does, having the idea that just about anybody can ‘plant churches’, rather than God’s almighty sovereignty in missions.
God’s sovereignty in missions can be seen in how God alone knows the elect and where they are, and in the ways God brings His elect the gospel. Scriptural proof is found in Isaiah 55: 11 and 2 Corinthians 2:15-16. The gospel never returns to God void; it always leads to the salvation of His people but also the hardening of the hearts of the reprobate. It is a double edged sword; a savour of life unto life for some but unto others, a savour of death unto death. In fact, mission work is the title of the book of the history of the world, and not a footnote as one author disdainfully relegated it to.
Being assured of God’s sovereignty, what of the church’s responsibility? Far from taking the back seat and letting God (and a missionary in some foreign land) do all the work, the church has a calling to fulfil. Salvation of the church is in the line of continued generations, due to the covenant God established with Abraham in Genesis 17:7. Therefore, the mission calling of the church begins with the local congregation. It is wrong to have a church wrapped up in outward missions and have covenant children grow up spiritual imbeciles. Instead, as with Christ’s instruction to Peter after His resurrection, it is the church’s responsibility to “Feed my lambs!” John 21: 15. This is done through the official ministry of the church – preaching. Prof emphasised the importance of catechism teaching.
Written by: Christine Ong | Issue 7